Tanga — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has said his government is still considering the establishment of new Mwambani Port as an economically viable project, thus a process is in place to find a construction company for the project to take off soon.
He said the process has reached an advanced stage considering that about 20 construction companies are ready to tender, thus the government through its tender board should select one company to undertake the project.
"I had a meeting with Tanga elders this morning and one of the things they wanted clarification from me was about Mwambani Port, I told them that the process is going on well ...so you residents of Tanga need not worry about it...everything is going on well," he said.
He said that his minister had informed him that by July, this year, one company out of the twenty companies will have been given the tender to start the job.
He further said the construction of Mwambani Port must go in line with construction of a railway line from Tanga to Musoma via Arusha, to facilitate the ferrying of goods within and to neighbouring countries.
"In a wider plane...we are not only planning to build new Mwambani Port, but also we want to build a new railway line, because in order to make the port perform well, must be facilitated by railway...we know it and we have determined to do it," he said.
He, however, had challenged the Tanga city authority to put in place good plans which would cater for the rapid growth of the city in terms of infrastructure development and social services.
He said the present development plans were indicators that the city was going to grow faster, therefore the city authority should as well be ready to face the challenges of the city growth.
"You can see now all these government initiatives are aimed at making Tanga one of the major cities ...rural areas will be part of the city soon...here you do not have villages, you have streets and those streets must be well planned in terms of social service and infrastructure development.
You need to consider and plan it now," he stressed. He wanted them to take a lesson from Dar es Salaam city which has been growing without a good plan, as a result, today it looks like a squatter city, making the city authority incur more expenses when wanting to develop infrastructure or other social service by paying compensation, because it is forced to demolish some houses.
Mwambani Port initially was planned to be constructed in partnership between Tanzania and Uganda to the extent that people had christened it Museveni port, but the recent decision by Ugandan government to use Mombasa port worried Tanga residents on the progress of the project.